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Old 04-04-2016, 08:14 AM   #1
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Retro cook's tools...

I live way the heck back in the woods... off the grid on 90 acres. I do have solar power so I could use all the modern gadgets and appliances, but I choose not to.

I have all kinds of old (were my grandmother's and great grandmother's) hand beaters, mixers, wooden potato mashers, graters, orange juicer squeezers, flour sifters, egg slicers, mason type jars, wire toasters, very old cutting boards... on and on. I also have some cast iron pans and pots that are more than 100 years old, which I use almost every day.

Anyone else???????????

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Old 04-04-2016, 09:07 AM   #2
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I think everyone has a few.

I tend to use them because I cook for one person and it is easier for me to wash a simple gadget than it is to clean a modern appliance. If I was cooking for a large family every day I would welcome some of the electrical appliances that are available, I bet even your grandmother and great grandmother would have a few!
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:25 AM   #3
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My grandmothers' and great-grandmothers' children got their stuff.

Aunt Bea, I'm sure you're right that they would have been happy to have some help with preparing meals. I reread this article a few days ago about this farm wife's daily life back in the day. It wasn't easy, for sure.

http://www.rachellaudan.com/2014/09/a-good-cook.html
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
I think everyone has a few.

I tend to use them because I cook for one person and it is easier for me to wash a simple gadget than it is to clean a modern appliance. If I was cooking for a large family every day I would welcome some of the electrical appliances that are available, I bet even your grandmother and great grandmother would have a few!
I'd say you're right... for the last ten years or so of my grandmother's life, she did have an electric coffee maker! But, that was about it... Oh, I think she also had a very small microwave for warming up my grampa's coffee. He would always fall asleep and it would go cold.

Then, he'd blame her... (Archie and Edith?)

A few years back, I had about 7 or 8 people over for Thanksgiving dinner. I roasted a Canada goose, a ham, potatoes, I baked a loaf of bread and a pie... plus all the rest of the regular stuff, stove-top. All this on the old wood burning cook stove and NO appliances.

A few of the guests were "friends of friends" who didn't know me very well... first time to my off-grid house. They were shocked that I was able to make the huge dinner just on the old stove, no electrical appliances either. They would ask, "How did you DO all this?" I would say, "The same way they did it 100 years ago."

It took them a bit of time to figure that out... then, they finally got it. "Ya, I guess so?"

They had no choice back then and they were much better cooks than most people today.
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:28 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by The Rugged Dude View Post
.They had no choice back then and they were much better cooks than most people today.
They also had more practice!

When my grandmother was growing up she learned various recipes from her mother and did not rely on a cook book. Every young girl was expected to know how to make bread, biscuits, pie crust, corn bread, etc... from memory and to adjust the amount of ingredients to the number of people that she was feeding.

A couple of good little books that go back to that time are The Old Cooks Almanac by Beatrice Vaughan, Redneck Country Cookin' by B. Touchstone Hardaway and also a general book of farm life before electricity A Book of Country Things by Walter Needham.

B. Touchstone Hardaway was also a contributor to The Mother Earth News, here is a link to one of her articles from 1971.

The Beauty of a Cookstove - The Beauty of a Cookstove - MOTHER EARTH NEWS


I myself enjoy the miracle of electricity and the joys of the modern supermarket. I can't imagine the boring repetitive meals of beans, cabbage, potatoes etc... or the need to plan two or three years in advance if you wanted to eat an apple or some asparagus.

I enjoy reading about those times while I wait for the pizza delivery guy to arrive!
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:14 AM   #6
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I say that the majority of members here learned to cook the same way I did. At their mother's side.

My mother had polio as a child and it left her with a limp. So it was much easier on her if I helped her. If a pot needed stirring, I am the one who got up and stirred it. I learned which foods could take a hearty stir, and the ones that required a gently stir. I learned to make sure to have the spoon scrape the bottom and sides. I learned how to add ingredients in the proper sequence.

What I know today, I learned from her. Her methods cooking on a wood burning stove and oven, and her recipes. And then I married a professional chef. A graduate of three cooking academies. I continued my education in the kitchen from him. But my basics came from my mother.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rugged Dude View Post
I live way the heck back in the woods... off the grid on 90 acres. I do have solar power so I could use all the modern gadgets and appliances, but I choose not to.

I have all kinds of old (were my grandmother's and great grandmother's) hand beaters, mixers, wooden potato mashers, graters, orange juicer squeezers, flour sifters, egg slicers, mason type jars, wire toasters, very old cutting boards... on and on. I also have some cast iron pans and pots that are more than 100 years old, which I use almost every day.

Anyone else???????????
Honestly, more power to ya, but I'll go the modern way.

We lived in the Bahamas for 2 years, not exactly primitive, but definitely lacking in many of the things that I had come to take for granted. We often cooked on our gas stove when the power was out - lighting the burners with matches (couldn't use the electronically controlled oven). Played dominos or cards under our emergency lanterns, or took walks on the beach under more stars than most people ever see these days (starlight is really not very bright, and if there is no moon and no light pollution, you really find out how good your night vision is).

But we still had satellite TV and room AC units as long as the power was on, which it was most of the time. However, I was not unhappy to move back to the states where power outages are rare. We still live in a tiny town of 350 souls, so we are about as rural as one can be, but 20 miles to a small city with most of the necessary conveniences, and just 120 miles to Denver, where I can get or do most anything I want.

I just happen to like modern living.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:00 PM   #8
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If you have no grid power and swear off modern appliances, how do you justify your ability to get on the internet.
After all, you had to type this post and send it.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:56 PM   #9
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One of my close aunts lives completely independently to the electric grid. They use huge solar panels and they use the internet and email all the time. I love the old fashioned gadgets. I remember my grandmother handing me the egg beater. I was beating the eggs and she says, "you are unbeating the eggs, you are turning it backwards". Ha ha--that was a joke.
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
My grandmothers' and great-grandmothers' children got their stuff.

Aunt Bea, I'm sure you're right that they would have been happy to have some help with preparing meals. I reread this article a few days ago about this farm wife's daily life back in the day. It wasn't easy, for sure.

A Good Cook | Rachel Laudan
I really enjoyed reading that GG! Thanks.
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